Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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December 2, 2013

Cathie Shaffer: Using turkey as a torture device: 12/03/13

GREENUP — Care for a little turkey?

Since I hosted the big feast last week, the leftovers stayed at my house. I must admit, I’ve never seen as much of my family as over the Thanksgiving weekend — at least the ones living next door.

My daughter was gracious to sit and yak with me when she came over. The grandgirls tended to roll in, grab what they wanted from the fridge and head back next door with a wave.

My mother was a great cook who could make gourmet meals with leftovers. So in honor of her, I made stock with the carcass and made some extremely yummy turkey vegetable soup.

But one cannot live by soup alone, so I also feasted on leftover stuffing and turkey, turkey sandwiches and turkey and noodles.

My late mother-in-law  had one of those electric roasters possessed by every proper housewife I knew growing up. One house she lived in had a good-sized kitchen with almost no counter space. So she would get the turkey ready in the roaster and plug it in wherever there was a place in another room.

One year, much to the family’s delight, that was her bedroom. Usually, however, it was atop a small table in the living room.

I felt a sense of kinship with her as I fixed my own turkey at midnight Wednesday. I invested in an electric roaster and this was the first time I used it.

My son volunteered to buy the turkey and I gave him specific directions based on the roaster: A nice big turkey but not over 20 pounds or it would be too big.

He found one at 19.6 pounds and it fit perfectly.

My kitchen is also a little shy on workspace so I knew the roaster would have to go elsewhere.

No, not my bedroom in case that’s what you’re thinking.

A number of years ago I bought an inexpensive cabinet and hutch to house my better dishes on top and the seldom-used bakingware in the bottom. I decided the wooden surface of the cabinet would be ideal.

And it was. The cabinet is in front of a plug-in and the dimensions of the top could have been custom tailored for the roaster. So at the midnight hour, I slathered the bird with butter, put it in the roaster and set to start cooking.

I woke in the morning to the marvelous scent of turkey wafting through the house and the sound of my oldest grandgirl working in the kitchen.

The morning was busy. Because we had a houseful to eat, my Sheltie and the half-grown labrador both spent the dining hours of the day outside. Maggie, the Sheltie, knows what Thanksgiving is all about and expects her plate of leftovers as soon as the table is cleared.

Carmyn, the lab, learned about the feast for the first time. She attacked her portion of turkey with great passion, as if she’d been waiting forever for just a taste.

And that’s when I remembered.

Maggie sleeps upstairs in my bedroom. Carmyn, who can destroy a room in 10 minutes, spends her nights in a roomy cage with her blankey and bear — a cage that happens to be right next to where the turkey roaster stood for nearly 12 hours.

CATHIE SHAFFER is executive editor of the News-Times in Greenup. Reach her at catheshaffer@zoominternet.net.

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